Honors: All College Participants

Title

Use of Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) as a replacement for artificial structures in flood storage reservoirs

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Conservation Biology

Minor

None

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Michael B. Flinn; Ph.D

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Large flood storage reservoirs serve many ecosystem functions but suffer from a decrease in aquatic habitat quality due to the loss of large woody debris. Because of this, reservoirs are often the target of habitat enhancement projects, which aim to increase the amount of structure in the reservoir. These structures may be natural, such as rock and brush piles, or they can be artificial and composed of synthetic materials. The addition of structures meets certain objectives, such as increasing angler success and providing fish nursery habitat, adult fish sanctuary, and a site for fish spawning and production (Tugend et al. 2002). However, artificial structures can be costly, difficult to maintain, and ineffective and unaesthetically pleasing in shallow water. We suggest using Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) as an alternative to stake beds, which is the most common type of artificial structure in Kentucky Lake. Bald cypress can withstand long periods of inundation (Megonigal and Day 1992), and it is native to Kentucky. Furthermore, the tree’s pneumatophores and buttresses can mimic the interstitial spacing of stake beds and other artificial structures. In this study, we quantified fish use of cypress trees, stake beds, and open water areas.

Location

Classroom 211, Waterfield Library

Start Date

November 2016

End Date

November 2016

Affiliations

Honors Thesis

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Nov 15th, 1:30 PM Nov 15th, 3:30 PM

Use of Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) as a replacement for artificial structures in flood storage reservoirs

Classroom 211, Waterfield Library

Large flood storage reservoirs serve many ecosystem functions but suffer from a decrease in aquatic habitat quality due to the loss of large woody debris. Because of this, reservoirs are often the target of habitat enhancement projects, which aim to increase the amount of structure in the reservoir. These structures may be natural, such as rock and brush piles, or they can be artificial and composed of synthetic materials. The addition of structures meets certain objectives, such as increasing angler success and providing fish nursery habitat, adult fish sanctuary, and a site for fish spawning and production (Tugend et al. 2002). However, artificial structures can be costly, difficult to maintain, and ineffective and unaesthetically pleasing in shallow water. We suggest using Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) as an alternative to stake beds, which is the most common type of artificial structure in Kentucky Lake. Bald cypress can withstand long periods of inundation (Megonigal and Day 1992), and it is native to Kentucky. Furthermore, the tree’s pneumatophores and buttresses can mimic the interstitial spacing of stake beds and other artificial structures. In this study, we quantified fish use of cypress trees, stake beds, and open water areas.